In your share this week:
- Swiss chard
- red potatoes
- yellow Walla Walla onions
- red onions*
- cabbage - going to Jackson members this week
- cucumbers (picked last week before they froze, eat them ASAP)
- golden beets
- broccoli - rotating through all the pick up sites again, this week going to Smoot and Alpine
- tomatoes - not a lot to pick, just enough for Smoot and Alpine
*You may be wondering "Why are they harvesting these onions so small?" (Maybe you had/have the same question for other crops too.) With only about a month of the CSA season remaining, we are accepting the fact that some crops aren't likely to grow much bigger, so out they come "as it". For example, we have nearly an entire crop of red onions that we've barely harvested from because they are so small. We've been crawling on our hands and knees down the row searching for anything that could be big enough and this is taking way too much time. It's time for us to start digging crops from one end of the greenhouse so we can get to the other end before the season is over. Think of them as "baby" onions - gourmet!
What a week we've gone through! Much of our time and thoughts last week were focused on a severe dip in temperatures (prediction was for 21 degrees followed by a 29 and then a 30). We prepared with extra row covers and heaters, picked some crops down to the very smallest sizes because they'd likely freeze, checked the forecast way too often, and we did our very best to overcome our worries and frustrations with more positive feelings of gratitude and hope. Thankfully, our spirits stayed strong and many more crops pulled through those cold nights than anticipated!
A update of various crops around the farm:
The carrots and beets did fine. The beet tops are a little damaged, but not too bad. Carrots are supposed to taste sweeter after a freeze and I think the ones we dug this week are wonderful!
We covered all the cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks and onions for several nights (that's a LOT of covering and uncovering) so they are all fine and we'll enjoy these crops through the end of the season, or until they run out.
Zucchini and squash plants are all but dead. Crazy that I see newly budding blossoms again with these days of sunshine, but in general I'll say these crops are done for the season.
Chard and kale are dwindling off. Not so much from the cold, but from bugs. We'll take it one week at a time but honestly, I'm surprised they lasted this long!
The top leaves on the French fillet bean plants were frozen so they are now shrivelled and brown. The plants have a lot of small blossoms on them, so we are still holding onto the hope of a bean harvest.
The cucumber plants are dead. I suspected this would happen so I picked all the smaller cucumbers on Thursday night and have kept them in the fridge for another CSA share. Eat them soon because they are already a week old.
The row of little basil plants we've been cutting from is still good! This brought the biggest smile to my face on Friday morning. I put 4 covers over them and it worked! The plants are small, too small to harvest yet. I'll watch the temps carefully and let them grow bigger and then harvest before the next cold snap.
All of the tomato plants in greenhouse 5 survived (such a nice surprise) but about 75% of the tomatoes in greenhouse 6 are dead. We'll keep picking any ripening tomatoes and rotate to various pick-up locations.
We have 2 of our 6 rows of potatoes dug up and we'll give a bag each week until they are gone. We plan to dig every weekend that the ground is dry and the skies are clear. This is a big project but I'm happy to say that so far, it looks like we are getting a good potato crop.
I've mentioned several times that we are struggling with the garlic crop this year. Even the second batch that appeared to be in such great condition when we cut it down, ended up developing some mold. As soon as this was discovered, I went and bought more shelving to spread it out to dry completely. (My front room is now storing 4 shelving units full of garlic!) It's ready to start cleaning and sorting again but the process is slow going as we look for and clean off any signs of mold. And now that the potatoes need to get out of the ground, the garlic is on hold again. Any day that the weather makes working outside too difficult, we come inside and clean garlic.
It was very nice to have such warm, beautiful weather for our harvest days this week! The sunshine is so enjoyable! It quickens our step and everyone is smiling as we work. We have great workshares that are helping us harvest as much food as possible for you each week. We invite you to join us at the farm and help us get a handle on some of these big projects. We have a little something for everyone, regardless of your ability or the weather.
Have a great week and ENJOY your veggies!